|One of the main hip strengthening movements I include in ancillary|
workouts, photo from my Hip Strengthening Video, watch it HERE
Most of my favorite internet researched running coaches ... Jay Johnson, Jeff Gaudette, Renato Canova, Miss Zippy, and others ... recommend some form of strength training during the marathon training phase. Coaches like Jeff Gaudette of RunnersConnect, and Amanda, a.k.a. Miss Zippy, suggest maintaining a strength schedule all the way up to a few days before the race. Others like Olympic marathon coach Renato Canova, are advocates of doing the bulk of the strength training in the early stages of marathon building, and then tapering off to focus on race pace workouts. I can see value in both approaches. But the big question for me has not been when to start or stop the strength training during the training cycle, but where to place it during the average training week. I mean let's face it, there's only so many available hours ... and physical energy, available during a grueling marathon training schedule.
Since I began adding consistent strength training to my marathon training a few years ago, I typically always worked it in on my easy days. The hard Tempo, Speed, and Hill Workouts always seemed to take so much out of me and I wanted to be able to focus on good form and get quality reps in during the strength workout. So for example, on the evening after an easy recovery run, I'd typically do 45-50 minutes of strength training. The problem with this was my legs usually felt dead and heavy the next day, which was typically a high intensity up-tempo run.
But I'd read a lot recently where some elite athletes complete their strength training not only on the same day as their tough runs, but also ... immediately after the run was completed. And in visiting with Miss Zippy this week, I found out that she does the exact same thing. The theory being that it was easier to get the strength training in when your legs were still "hot" and loose from the tough run, instead of waiting until later in the day when the legs had cooled down and stiffened up a little during the recovery. Amanda told me it worked for her, and since I'm easily influenced, I decided I'd give it a shot.
So after Tuesday morning's Tempo Run where I did a total of 12 miles, and 9 of them at Tempo Pace, I came home, changed into dry clothes, stretched a little, and then immediately went into my strength training routine. I thought I'd be too tired after the run (in fact it was my fastest Tempo Run ever ... 9miles@6:19 average pace), but it actually felt a lot easier than normal since my heart rate was already elevated, and my muscles were still loose. And to be honest ... I loved it! Plus, getting the strength training and hard run over all at once gave my legs even more recovery time, which I'm finding I need more and more as I age.
So even though it was only one day, I can immediately tell I'm going to love this approach. I'll keep you posted if I adjust it a little. But for now, I feel like I just added in A TON more recovery time to my schedule, all while maintaining a strength training regimen that I need during the grind of marathon training. It seems to be a perfect fit.
... be great today!